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Monday, October 1, 2001

Give your mouse some rest
Sarabjeet Singh Kanwal

WHILE working on a computer, we need high speed, quick action and shortcut ways to quickly accomplish the tasks we often perform. Clicking on different icons, buttons and menu items, time and again and using a mouse needs a lot of time. This decreases our working speed drastically. The availability of shortcut keys in software makes our task easy. We should try to use these keys as frequently as possible and try our best to give mouse some rest.

Following keys are used while working on most of software
Create a new file
Open an existing file
Save a file
Close a file
Close an application/ Shut down the system
Find text in a document
Replace text in a document
Spell check
Look up a word in the Thesaurus
Cancel an action
Undo an action
Redo or repeat an action
Ctrl + N
Ctrl + O
Ctrl + S
Ctrl + F4
Alt + F4
Ctrl + P
Ctrl + F
Ctrl + H
Shift + F7
Ctrl + Z or Alt + Backspace
Ctrl+Y or Shift+Alt+Backspace

For context sensitive help, press Shift + F1. The shape of mouse cursor will change. Click the mouse on any item to get help about it.

Following keys are used in MS Word and /or Front Page
Create a hyperlink
Display/Undisplay non-printing characters
Display HTML tags
Refresh a page
Go to
Ctrl + K
Ctrl + Shift + 8
Ctrl + /
Ctrl + G

For Front Page: To insert a table, press Shift + Ctrl + Alt + T. Press Ctrl + Shift + B to view a Front page document in default browser (Internet Explorer or Netscape).

To insert a row in a table, place the cursor at the bottom right cell and press Tab.

To create an auto thumbnail of a selected picture in Front page, press Ctrl +T.
Use Ctrl + Plus Sign to apply superscript and Ctrl + Minus Sign to apply sub script to the selected text.

Using the Windows key
Display the Start menu
Undisplay the Start menu
Display Windows Help
Display Find: All Files
Display Find: Computer
Display the Run command
Display Windows explorer
Minimise/restore all Windows
Cycle through buttons on task bar
Display System properties dialog box
Windows Key or Ctrl + Esc
Windows Key + F1
Windows Key + F
Ctrl + Windows Key + F
Windows Key + R
Windows Key + E
Windows Key + D
Windows Key + Tab
Windows Key + Pause

Cursor Movement Commands
Ctrl + Up Arrow
Ctrl + Down Arrow
Ctrl + PageUp
Ctrl + PageDown
Ctrl + Home
Ctrl + End
Ctrl + Left
Ctrl + Right
Move to start of current line.
Move to end of current line.
Scroll up one paragraph.
Scroll down one paragraph.
Scroll up one screen.
Scroll down one screen.
Scroll up one page.
Scroll down one page.
Scroll to start of the document.
Scroll toend of the document.
Move left one word.
Move right one word.

Text selection: Keeping in mind the cursor movement commands, we can select text as follows:

To select one character on the right, press Shift + Right arrow. To select one character on the left, press Shift + Left Arrow. To select a word on the right, press Ctrl + Shift + Right Arrow. To select a word on the left, press Ctrl + Shift + Left arrow. To select upto the end of the current line (the line in which cursor is currently placed), press Shift + End. To select upto the beginning of the current line, press Shift + Home. To select one line down, press Shift + Down arrow. To select one line up, press Shift + Up arrow. To make selection upto end of current paragraph, press Ctrl + Shift + Down arrow. To make selection upto the beginning of the current paragraph, press Ctrl + Shift + Up arrow. To select one screen down, press Shift + Page Down. To select one screen up, press Shift + Page Up. In a table press Tab key to select contents of next cell. Press Shift + Tab to select the preceding cell's contents. To select the whole document, press Ctrl + A.

In Front Page, use Alt + Enter to change properties/formatting of currently selected text. 


Text selection using Mouse: Drag the mouse over the text to select it. Click in the beginning of a line to select it. To select a word, double click it. Triple-click a paragraph to select it. Click at a place where you want to start selection, keep pressing Shift key and click the place where you want to end selection. To select a column in a table, click at the top of it.

Keys for editing and moving text and graphics

Delete one character to the left
Delete one character to right
Delete one word toleft
Delete one word toright
Cut the selected text/graphics
Copy text/graphics
Paste text/graphics 
Insert a line break
Ctrl + Backspace
Ctrl + Delete
Ctrl + X or Shift + Delete
Ctrl + C or Ctrl + Insert
Ctrl + V or Shift +Insert
Shift +Enter

Keys for menus

Show the shortcut menu 
Show the program icon menu
Close the visible menu or sub-menu
Shift +F10
Alt + Spacebar

Keys for formatting the selected text/paragraphs
Change the font
Change the font size
Apply bold formatting
Apply an underline
Apply italic formatting
Center a paragraph
Apply bullet
Left align a paragraph
Right align a paragraph
Indent a paragraph from left
Indent a paragraph from right
Apply a style
Apply the Normal style
Apply the Heading 1 style
Apply the Heading 2 style
Apply the Heading 3 style
Ctrl + Shift + F
Ctrl + Shift + P
Ctrl + B
Ctrl + U
Ctrl + I
Ctrl + E
Ctrl + Shift + L
Ctrl + L
Ctrl + R
Ctrl + M
Ctrl + Shift + M
Ctrl + Shift + S
Ctrl + Shift + N
Ctrl + Alt + 1
Ctrl + Alt + 2
Ctrl + Alt + 3

Replacing the Format Painter tool:
When you want to apply same formatting (i.e. font style, font size) again and again on different pieces of text, first apply that formatting on one piece of text, press Ctrl + Shift + C to copy that formatting. Then select the next text piece and press Ctrl + Shift + V to paste that text formatting on it. This is to substitute the Format Painter tool. To remove manual formatting and get default formatting, press Ctrl + Shift +Z or Ctrl + Spacebar.


Switching between windows / files:
To switch between two or more opened windows, use Alt + Tab - while keeping Alt key pressed, go on pressing Tab key repeatedly until the desired window comes into view. Now, release the Alt key to go to that window. The other alternative is to keep Alt key pressed and go on pressing Esc key until desired window become active window. 
When you open two or more files in same application, use Ctrl + Tab or Ctrl + Shift + Tab to switch between these files.

Keys for Windows Explorer
Collapse the sub folders of current folder
Select the parent folder
Expand currently selected folder
Expand complete tree of sub-folders
Switch between panes and menu bars
View properties of an item
Rename a file/folder
Left Arrow
Left Arrow / Up Arrow
Right arrow
Num Lock + (*)
Alt + Enter


In Internet Explorer (IE), use Shift + Click to open a link in new window. In IE, use F5 key to refresh a page and F11 key for full screen view. Press Alt + Right Arrow in place of Forward button and Alt + Left Arrow in place of Back button. Ctrl + S is used to shrink/unshrink volume control window. Alt + Enter is used to shrink/ unshrink MS-DOS window. To delete a file without sending it to Recycle bin, use Shift + Del. To copy the contents of entire screen to clipboard, press Print Screen key. You can paste these contents to any image editor using Ctrl + V.

Look for more shortcut keys: Different softwares have their own shortcut keys. When you open a menu, you will find shortcut keys written in the front of each command. For example: Ctrl + O is written in front of open command. Similarly you can look for other keys too.

Virtual key concept: Most of the software provides shortcut keys using virtual key concept. You can see an underlined letter with every command and menu item. For example: File, Save etc. The underlined letter is called a virtual key. To use save command, we first of all activate menu bar by pressing Alt key once. To open the File menu, we press virtual key F. To select Save command, we press virtual key S. Similarly, to use Save As… command from File menu, press Alt and release it. Then press F and then A.